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Pennies go under the hammer

PUBLISHED: 14:33 27 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:38 03 March 2010

THEY were made more than 1,000 years ago, while King Canute was trying to turn back the tide and East Anglia was a thriving centre of coin production.

Three silver pennies crafted in Colchester, Ipswich and Maldon at the start of the first millennium are set to multiply in value to more than £500 when they go under the hammer today.

THEY were made more than 1,000 years ago, while King Canute was trying to turn back the tide and East Anglia was a thriving centre of coin production.

Three silver pennies crafted in Colchester, Ipswich and Maldon at the start of the first millennium are set to multiply in value to more than £500 when they go under the hammer today.

The coins, which will be sold at Spink auctioneers in London, date from the reign of King Canute – often known as Cnut– and were minted between 1016 and 1035, when dozens of mints existed in England, East Anglia being a particular hotspot.

Each coin bears an image of the king – some with him wearing a helmet, others without – and is inscribed with the both the maker's name and where it was minted.

Eadwine is the "moneyer" of the coin made in Colchester – then known as Emocol – which is thought to be worth up to £180.

Lifinc made the Ipswich – or Gipesi – coin, valued at up to £100 while Maldon's minter was Elfwine, who knew his home town as Medovn. Its coin is expected to reach up to £300.

Richard Bishop, coins expert at Spink, said the items had been put up for sale by a private collector, but explained they were not especially rare. "Because of the markings, they are very collectable and always very popular," he added.

Mr Bishop said the Anglo-Saxons had the most sophisticated system of making coins in Europe, using the finest silver – which the Norseman coveted and based regular invasions around. East Anglia was a "very busy" region for Royal Mints, he added, with thriving centres of trade that made ideal spots for coin producers, who only made pennies.

"Every area had to have its own mint to serve its towns and villages and some places that had one are now the tiniest hamlets. It was closely controlled, however, and there were often brutal punishments for makers whose coins were not of the right quality," said Mr Bishop.

Smaller mints disappeared after the rise to power of William the Conqueror in 1066 and by the mid-16th Century there were only larger ones left at places such as London and Oxford. Ipswich Museum has records of a Royal Mint in 937, which produced coins until the 1190s.


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